The Sabbath Issue

Chapter 8: The Law of Moses and the Law of Christ - Part 2

In Summary, the Law of Moses applied to Israel before the Cross, and the Law of Christ now applies to the whole Church in Christ (both Jew and Gentile). You can’t live under both Law-Systems (husbands)! Even with the best intentions, if you are true (loyal) to one, you will be disloyal to the other. If you submit to Moses as your Law, you will fall from the grace of Christ (Galatians 5:4).

The attempt by misguided legalists to try and resurrect the authority of the Law of Moses is a backward step that the Apostle Paul resisted strongly (especially in Galatians), because he knew that it undermined the Gospel. In fact, he gave the strongest possible warning against those who were doing this (Galatians 1:6-9). His main battle and persecution in preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles was from the Judaisers, who were trying to assert the authority of the Law of Moses over Gentile believers. By doing this, whilst accepting Jesus as the Messiah, they were denying (setting at nought) His work in bringing the Old Covenant to an end on the Cross, and establishing a New Covenant through His resurrection. That is why Paul had to fight their teaching at great personal cost.

The Apostle Paul teaches that living under the Law of Moses would surely bring us under a Curse: “For as many as are of the works of the Law are under the Curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the Law, to do them” (Galatians 3:10), but Galatians 3:13,14 says: “Christ has redeemed us from the Curse of the Law, having become a Curse for us (for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the Blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” No wonder Paul said to the Galatians who had started to go back under the Law of Moses: “O you foolish Galatians” (Galatians 3:1) 

Praise God for Jesus, Who has delivered us from the Law and its Curse (Punishments), so that in Christ and His New Covenant, us Gentiles (as well as Jews) can receive all the blessings of God (forgiveness and eternal life) as a free gift (and still be Gentiles!).

We are now under: ‘the Law of Christ’ (Galatians 6:2), 
‘the Law of the Spirit of Life’ (Romans 8:2), 
‘the perfect Law of Liberty’ (James 1:25, 2:12)

‘the Royal Law’ (James 2:8), 
‘the New Commandment’ (John 13:34, 1John 2:7,8, 2John 1:5), 
but we are not under: ‘the Law of Moses.’ 

The reason there is much confusion over the relationship between these 2 Laws, is that many commandments in the Law of Christ are similar to those found in the Law of Moses. So some conclude, that sections of Moses have been retained, which we have shown cannot be the case. The explanation for this similiarity can be seen in that often different law-codes contain similar commands, but not because they derive from each other, but that they both have laws that derive from the eternal Moral Law. There may be similar laws, but they belong to 2 different Law-Systems. Thus, although 9/10 Commandments are in the Law of Christ, this does not mean the Law of Moses is still in force. We are not to steal today, but not because we would breaking the Law of Moses, but because we would be breaking the Law of Christ! If I steal, I am not guilty of breaking the Law of Moses, but the Law of Christ (and Moral Law). 

The believer in Christ is free from the Law of Moses. He is free from the necessity of keeping any commandment of that system. But, he is also free to keep parts of the Law of Moses, if he so desires. But he should not try to impose those parts on others.

The Law helped to (1) convict us of sin and (2) lead us to Christ (justification) as well as being the Sign of Israel’s Covenant at Sinai, which has now been replaced by the New Covenant. In both these aspects, Paul realised it had no further role to play in the life of a Christian. The use of the Law for righteousness (justification) can only lead to boasting (faith in self and our lawkeeping, rather than God). Moreover, it was also powerless to sanctify (perfect) us (Romans 8:3). But now through Christ, we can fulfil our obligation to God (the law of love), by walking in the Spirit (Romans 8:4). 

The Law of Moses and the Christ compared
1. The two Laws have much in common
9 out of 10 Commandments are in both Law-Systems, but they don’t originate from the Law of Moses, but from the eternal Moral Law.

2. But there is also much is different in the New Covenant: 
-no Sabbath Law (Romans 14:5, Colossians 2:16) 
-no Dietary Code (Mark 7:19, Romans 14:20).
-no animal sacrifices.
-none of the old Ceremonies, 
-but there are two new Ceremonies (Ordinances): 
(1) Water Baptism by Immersion and (2) Communion, which now function as (1) the initial Sign, and (2) the ongoing Sign, of being in the New Covenant. Baptism speaks of our relationship (position) in Christ and Communion speaks of our fellowship (participation). 

3. Some commandments are intensified in the New Covenant: 
The Law of LOVE is not simply: “LOVE your neighbour as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18), but the NEW COMMANDMENT:“LOVE one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). 

4. There is a new higher motivation for obedience: 
The Old Covenant said: “Do this to be blessed!”, 
but the New says: “Do it, because you are blessed!” 

The Purposes of the Law of Moses 
1. To reveal the holiness of God, the standard of righteousness required to please God (Romans 7:12).

2. To provide a rule of conduct for the Old Testament believers, but not a means of Salvation. 

3. To provide occasions for individual and corporate worship (Leviticus 23).

4. To keep the Jews as a distinct holy people (Leviticus 11:44-45, Deuteronomy 7:6, 14:1,2). This included special laws for worship, diet, beards and clothes. It created a middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles, that clearly defined Israel as a special people of God (Ephesians 2:11-16).

5. To reveal sin and our need of salvation (Romans 3:19,20, 5:20, 7:7), even magnifying sin in the process (Romans 4:15, 5:20, 7:7-13, 1Corinthians 15:56). It provides the sin-nature with a base of operation. Sin now becomes transgression of the Law.

6. To reveal to the sinner that he cannot save himself. An honest sinner knows he cannot keep the law perfectly (Romans 7:14-25).

7. Thus it was to drive men to faith in Christ 
(Romans 8:1-4, Galatians 3:24,25).

The 10 Commandments in the New Testament

*The First Commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Matthew 4:10; 6:24; 22:37-38; Luke 4:8; Revelation 14:7).

*The Second Commandment: “You shall not worship idols.”
(Acts 15:20; 17:16; 29; 1 Corinthians 5:10-11; 6:9; 10:7, 14, 19; 12:2; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Galatians 5:20; Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Peter 4:3; 1 John 5:21; Revelation 2:14; 9:20; 21:8; 22:15).

*The Third Commandment: “You shall not take the Name of the Lord in vain” (Matthew 5:33-34; 1 Timothy 6:1; James 2:7).

*The Fourth Commandment: “Observe the Sabbath day as holy.” 

*The Fifth Commandment: “Honour your father and mother.”
(Matthew 15:4; 19:19; Mark 7:10; 10:19; Luke 18:20; Romans 1:30; Ephesians 6:1-2; Colossians 3:20; 2 Timothy 3:2).

*The Sixth Commandment: “You shall not Murder.” 
(Matthew 5:21-22; 19:18; Mark 7:21; 10:19; Luke 18:20; Romans 1:29; 13:9; Galatians 5:21; 1 Timothy 1:9; James 2:11; 1 Peter 4:15; 1 John 3:15; Revelation 9:21; 21:8; 22:15).

*The Seventh Commandment: “You shall not commit Adultery.”
(Matthew 5:27-28; 19:18; Mark 7:21; 10:11-12, 19; Luke 16:18; 18:20; Acts 21:25; Romans 1:29; 2:22; 7:3; 13:9; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 6:9, 18; 10:8; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Hebrews 13:4; James 2:11; 2 Peter 2:14; Jude 1:7; Revelation 2:14; 2:21-22; 9:21).

*The Eighth Commandment: “You shall not Steal” 
(Matthew 19:18; Mark 7:22; 10:19; Luke 18:20; Romans 2:21; 13:9; 1 Corinthians 5:10-11; 6:10; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Peter 4:15; Revelation 9:21).

*The Ninth Commandment: “You shall not bear false witness.”
(Matthew 15:19; 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; John 8:44; Acts 5:3-4; Romans 1:29; 13:9; Ephesians 4:25; Colossians 3:9; 1Timothy 4:2; 2 Timothy 3:3; Revelation 21:8; 22:15).

*The Tenth Commandment: 
“You shall not covet your neighbour's things”
(Mark 7:22; Luke 12:15; Acts 20:33; Romans 1:29; 7:7; 13:9; 1 Corinthians 5:10-11; 6:10; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3, 5; 1 Timothy 6:10; 2 Timothy 3:2; 2 Peter 2:14; Hebrews 13:5).

*The 4th Commandment is the only one not repeated in the New Testament.



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